April 23, 2011 Rejected Book Plot #23
You May Not Know It, But We’re in a Fight: Tales From Your Passive Aggressive Friend
You’d never know it seeing her interact, but Elizabeth is an extreme introvert. The idea of meeting new people actively gives her panic attacks. It is such a problem that often before going out she hyperventilates and cries in the fetal position. Yet, she is so loud and outgoing in front of the people she knows that they often forget. Liz is also an extreme people pleaser. She hates the idea of letting people down or them being mad at her so much that she almost never says no. Liz’s friends are well aware she can’t say no and they often use this to their advantage. The thing Elizabeth’s friends don’t realize is that she’s well aware of every time she is being manipulated into doing something she doesn’t want to do and is making lists of her own.
Liz has spent years having one-sided arguments with her friends in front of her mirror trying to work up the courage to actually tell them how she feels. She knew she’d never be able to actually tell them why she was so upset because she couldn’t knowingly hurt her friends. So she would internalize it. She buried the pain deep until it burrowed little holes in her chest where any hope and happiness she had leaked out. She would do silly little things that made her feel better like not respond to a text message but then she’d feel guilty and respond anyway. While all her friends were living their lives, Liz was just trying to survive.
Liz’s life was a constant struggle between love and hate. She hated most things but never wanted to be the downer in the group so would pretend to love them. In her mind nothing was worse than the person in a circle of friends who was always super negative. So she would pretend the world was fine, her life was good and at the end of the day she was happy. She strived every day to be happy and make it better than the day before. She often failed at this task so she decided she would just strive to pretend to be better. If you pretend something long enough, it becomes true to you. Perception is reality, after all.
Will Liz ever tell her friends how she feels? Will she ever be able to stop pretending to be happy and just be happy?
“I am always sad, I think. Perhaps this signifies that I am not sad at all, because sadness is something lower than your normal disposition, and I am always the same thing. Perhaps I am the only person in the world, then, who never becomes sad. Perhaps I am lucky.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer